6 February 2018
Seren completes first tranche of £1m investment round
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
Seren Photonics Ltd of Pencoed Technology Park, Bridgend, Wales, UK - which develops semi-polar and non-polar gallium nitride (GaN)-based products - has completed the first tranche of a £1m investment round with funding from existing and new investors, including £250,000 from the Development Bank of Wales along with matching investment from private investors.
The funds will be used to continue the manufacturing scale-up of its template technology along with the further development of green LED epitaxy structures.
The evolution of the firm’s product offering towards semi-polar green LED epitaxy is driven by increasing demand for improved-efficiency wavelength-stable green LEDs for micro-LED display applications, where each pixel is represented by an individual red, green or blue micro-LED. Whereas individual red and blue LED efficiencies are already in the 60-70% range, green LEDs still remain at <20% wall plug efficiency (WPE). Poor efficiency results in increased power consumption and sometimes a need for additional green LED pixels, which also acts to reduce overall screen resolution as well as to increase cost.
The overall market for next-generation displays using micro-LEDs could be $30-40bn, it is forecasted, if micro-LEDs become the display technology of choice. Applications include large, high-resolution indoor displays, 4k and 8k TVs, augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) headsets, automotive head-up displays (HUDs), smartphones and wearables.
“Seren’s semi-polar and non-polar technologies make InGaN/GaN-based LEDs significantly more wavelength stable over a wide range of operating conditions, enable an order-of-magnitude higher switching speeds and also deliver the potential for improved efficiency through superior electron-hole recombination rates,” says chief development officer Dr Bedwyr Humphreys. “This is a truly versatile technology, having the potential for reducing droop in high-brightness blue LEDs, enhancing the performance of longer-wavelength GaN LEDs and enabling high-speed LED-based communication systems such as visible light communication (VLC) as well as short-range plastic optical fiber (POF) communication,” he adds.
“We are delighted to continue our support for this innovative technology and to help create a sustainable compound semiconductor ecosystem in Wales,” comments Steve Smith, technology ventures director at the Development Bank of Wales. “The high level of interest for this technology in next-generation displays and high-speed communication endorses the importance of semi-polar GaN in enabling leading-edge LED performance,” he adds.